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Mommy Tip #2 – Tantrums are not just for Toddlers

This has been a good summer.  Michael and Sam are very independent, they love camp, love swimming lessons, love the beach, and have lots of friends.  They don’t even like to sit with me on the beach and constantly ask to go hang out by the boardwalk – where they “play superheroes” and make friends. 

I haven’t had days like these at the beach since I was in my early twenties.  I’ve been reading books and magazines, talking uninterrupted with friends, and sitting on my fat (and growing as we speak) ass more than I have in 6 years.

On top of this luxury, now that I don’t have babies or toddlers to give naps or dinner to – I can essentially stay at the beach as long as I want.  I can pull my chair down to the edge of the water – so the waves are licking at my feet and enjoy my book in the late afternoon, the best part of the day. 

The sun burns a little less, the air is crisp, the water is gorgeous and the kids play in the waves while the sun starts its descent.  It was recently such an afternoon, on one of the most gorgeous days of the summer, when I got caught off guard.  I inadvertently was happy – and I should have known that was not possible.  

My 5-year-old dropped his hermit crab at the edge of the water and before he could bend down to scoop it up – a wave came in and swept it away, and he went ballistic.  This wasn’t a complete sneak attack – I should have seen the signs:

Clue #1 – Red Cheeks =Perhaps a little too much in the sun department

Clue #2 – A day of whining = Perhaps one too many late nights – and a little tired

Clue #3 – I mentioned that I was momentarily happy right?

He burst into tears.

I peered at him over the top of my book. 

“Michael this is nothing to cry about – go by the jetty and find a new one.” I said and went back to reading.

“No!!!” he screamed unreasonably, “I want that one!!!”

I tried to ignore him, but the whining and crying was getting worse. I read the same page 5 times.

“If you don’t stop crying and leave me alone right now – then we are leaving.” I threatened.

“NO!!! I’m not leaving!!” he screamed hysterically in my face.

Now at this point – any good mother with a head on her shoulders would pack up and leave, but not Lady Goo Goo Gaga.  I tried to read again. He wouldn’t shut up.

I gave one more ultimatum – which he failed miserably and I had no choice.  I threw my book down.

“That’s it….we’re leaving.” I started folding my chair. 

This is when things really took a frightening turn.  I told him to start picking up his toys, and quickly realized this would never happen.  The devil doesn’t pick up sand toys. 

Resigned I went to pick up buckets and towels and every step of the way I was body blocked by my possessed child.

I tried to remain calm.  I called out to poor innocent Sam who was floating on a tube catching some rays.

“Come on – we have to leave now!! Your brother is out of control!” I called out.

He graciously hopped off his tube and said “OK – Mama!”  I looked at him with joy and happiness for a quick moment and then turned back to Godzilla. 

A toy boat was thrown and narrowly missed my ear, he took his brother’s tube and slammed it down as hard as he could and it bounced off the sand and rolled away.

I frantically filled up my beach cart and was almost ready to go.   The only thing left on the beach was the huge bucket of crabs leftover from crabbing earlier in the day.  Considering this all started from a lost crab – emptying the bucket was going to be dicey. 

While he was momentarily distracted by two strangers, I was able to grab my flip-flops and book.

“Dump out the bucket, Michael, it’s time to go.” I said calmly.

“NO!” he screamed hovering over the bucket with snot and tears running down his sunburned cheeks.  I quickly made a move to grab the bucket – at the same time as he did.   I tried to loosen his grip to no avail, and a tug of war ensued.

Anytime I got into position to dump the bucket – he would get in front of it so that I would have to throw a bucket of crabs directly at him (which surprisingly – I wasn’t comfortable with.) 

I almost threw a bucket of crabs at him -but decided against it.

At this point – Sam hopped out of the water.

“Sam! Run for your life!!” I yelled while pulling furiously on the bucket, “I’ll meet you at the boardwalk!”

He scampered away – and I ripped the bucket out of Michael’s hands and dumped out mud and crabs like a maniac. 

At one point he headed towards the water and mass chaos ensued....

I was dripping with sweat and my back and arms were killing me from the struggle.  Michael collapsed in a heap of tears and I threw the bucket in my cart and turned around to go… which point I thought I heard cheering. 


Witnesses to this debacle were cheering for me.  I looked up and saw a sea of horrified faces. 

The beach was silent.

 A seagull flew by. 

The crabs made their way back to sea. 

I stood there sandy and sweaty, staring back at all of the faces judging me.

I was mortified.  I headed up to the boardwalk.  Some kind woman called out – “Don’t worry – we have all been there!!”

Someone else shouted – “You have a lot of patience!!”

I was dying  and on the verge of tears myself.  Michael followed me all the way to the car crying and threatening not to come and of course it didn’t end until long after we were home. 

Thank God I had just read a blog called Things I Can’t Say, in which the mom blogger, Shell, suggested getting Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonade, and I had some chilled waiting for me.  The promise of malt liquor was the only thing pushing me through the motions of showers, dinner and bedtime routines.

I think I have neglected the schedules and good parenting for long enough – and it’s biting me in the ass.  This little brush with the devil was enough for me.



Linking to Sunday Funday with Carri Ann and Pour You Heart Out


42 responses »

  1. Glad we could be of assitance to your antics!!! LOL

  2. Always nice to get motivational feed back from on lookers. And not the sarcastic so didn’t need that kind of comments. =) I keep telling myself school starts soon…It keeps me going.

  3. Love your pictures! Whenever my daughter tried to have a tantrum, I would bust out laughing, which sometimes ended it, but sometimes made it worse. Tantrums crack me up for some reason. New follower from Sunday Funday, would love it if you would check out my blog and follow back!

  4. um yea, I don’t look forward to tantrums like that. At least now when Jack throws a tantrum I can chalk it up to him not knowing any better. But when they grow up…they do shit like that just out of spite.

  5. Hey, there is nothing wrong with wanting to sit and read for a little while longer. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. Although, granted, sometimes we push the limits of our kids’ tolerance; I was a big dummy once and thought I could make a quick trip to Walmart for toilet paper and apple juice right before lunchtime. I ended up leaving my cart in the middle of an aisle while dragging a screaming 4-year-old out by the back of the shirt while hoisting her 2-year-old sister over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes. And I was 8-months pregnant. So yeah, that quick trip almost ended Thelma and Louise style.

  6. The devil doesn’t pick up sand toys.

    Totally my favorite line. I’d consider giving the devil the malt liquor and going for the hard stuff.

  7. Ahhhh…nothing like having an audience!

    Miss A (4yo) decided to disappear in Kohl’s on Saturday. I did the loud counting ONE…TWO…THREE…CHECK! ONE…TWO…. and everyone stopped walking to watch me. After the 2nd check I saw her ponytail dash around a display so I said (shouted) if she wasnt in front of me by 3 we were OUT OF HERE AND YOU LOSE EVERYTHING (ie: the stuffed dog and clearance swimsuit she chose). She didn’t make it back by three (more like 10), so I scooped her up in front of my increasing audience and said YOU. Lose. EVERYTHING! Slammed all the shopping I had on top of the display i was next to and stormed out the door with Mr T at my heels. Two people commented, but I was too pissed off to properly hear their support/advice.

    Good times.

    When the eff does school start up again??

    • LOL!!Meanwhile – i would be most annoyed that I couldn’t finish my shopping because then everyone (strangers that mean nothing to my life) would know that I don’t follow through……and this is why my children don’t listen…..sigh……SEPT 1st!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I love hearing stories about other people suffering with their children. Seems cruel but it is so good to know that I’m not the only one having the oh-my-god-how-did-I-get-here moments.

    When people with grown children say, “enjoy them while they’re young” I’m convinced they all suffer from some sort of selective memory disorder. Actually, what I really think is happening is they can now enjoy the good parts of when they were young *in their memories* because they don’t have to actually experience the daily drama anymore.

    “Remember that time when Charlie pooped on the floor at the bookstore?” becomes a fun anecdote, in stark contrast to the incredibly embarrassing scenario it actually was while taking place.

    I love your blog. Thanks for writing it.

    • Thanks Heather!! You are right – even as I was writing that post – a few days removed from that fateful day of sweat and tears – I actually chuckled. Imagine when I’m 65? I’ll definitely say things like – “I loved having babies and toddlers….they were so precious!”

  9. OMG. I’m reading this in bed on a day when my in-laws have my kids and I CLEARLY should sleep till noon but alas, I’m a mom so I was up at 630 whether I wanted to or not. I. Am. Rolling! I’ve so had these days and seen those judgmental faces and ran–yes ran–for a glass of whine, oops. I meant wine.

    I’m considering throwing a tantrum next time one of my kids start in on one. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll get judged?

    Great post–loved it!

  10. OH my wow, people were cheering??? That’s pretty outstanding. And good job for not letting your son walk all over you. I can’t imagine how difficult that was to deal with, and in public no less, but kudos, Lady Goo 🙂

  11. Hilarious! But I know not so at the time…I think the tantrum monsters know when our guards are down….

  12. I’m just impressed with how long you put off the malt liquor for. I have my wine while bathing and feeding them on days like that.

  13. Oh girl- you needed that lemonade after all that!

    I was at a bounce place with my three one day when the realization hit me that if they decided to mutiny and not leave when I said it was time, I would be totally powerless since it’s not like I could carry all three of them out of there at once.

  14. Love your work. The pictures were hilarious. I have three kids and we have been through lots of tantrums, with some of the worst being myself.

  15. oh don’t we all have days like that?! sorry for the on-lookers but at least they aren’t a part of the everyday battles…although the encouragement/cheers might be nice when ya just feel like throwing them out the window to find their own lunch 🙂

    stopped by from mama kat’s!

  16. whew, that was rough! Reading your post put me right in your shoes, knowing what you felt like and how incredibly challenging every single second of a tantrum is. I am completely exhausted after one of my daughters has a meltdown, even if it is at home. Hopefully that will be the last big one of the summer that you’ll have to deal with 🙂

  17. OMG. I’m having one of those days today, except nobody cheered me. Instead, they were thinking, FINALLY. The woman with that wild little boy is leaving!
    And, as always, great post. I love your spin on things. People running from the water… hahaha.

  18. You poor thing! Man, does this bring back memories! I remember once one of my kids wanted something in a store and hit the floor screaming in protest when I said no. I kept walking and had no intention of stopping until I heard her older sister scream, “Mom, that is the worst parenting I have ever seen!”

    Very funny blog and great post!

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  20. OMG, I’m laughing out loud right now. I appreciate these moments so much now that I’m a blogger. Great post. Nothin’ like an adult beverage to finish out of those days!

  21. Pingback: What I learned…. « Lady Goo Goo Gaga

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